A spate of violence in London sparked another vitriolic tweet from Donald Trump blaming mayor Sadiq Khan for the city’s knife crime problem – but is the British capital as dangerous as the US President suggested?
Four people were murdered across London over the weekend, according to the city’s Metropolitan Police.
On Saturday, Trump criticized Sadiq Khan for failing to curb violence while retweeting a post by right-wing commentator Katie Hopkins who denounced London as “Stab-City.” The messages were the latest escalation in a long-running war of words between the US President and Khan.
But going beyond the rhetoric to look at US and UK crime statistics, London appears to have far less of a problem with violent crime than many major US cities.
Last year, there were 136 homicides in the UK capital, according to Metropolitan Police figures. That translates to a rate of 1.54 homicides per 100,000 people.
In 2017, the number of homicides was slightly higher at 140 incidents – a homicide rate of 1.59 per 100,000 residents. The 2017 figures include those killed in the London Bridge terror attack in June that year.
In comparison, the 30 largest cities in the US all had a higher murder rate per 100,000, using analysis by New York University’s Brennan Center for Justice for 2017 – the latest available year.
Of the cities examined, Baltimore, Detroit and Chicago had the highest murder rates at 55.8, 39.8 and 24.1 respectively.
The FBI cautions against comparing cities against each other, since the basic figures rarely take into account the complex local factors at play.
“Comparisons lead to simplistic and/or incomplete analyses that often create misleading perceptions adversely affecting communities and their residents,” it said in its 2018 crime report. “Valid assessments are possible only with careful study and analysis of the range of unique conditions affecting each local law enforcement jurisdiction.”
The largest US city – New York – had a relatively low murder rate of just 3.4 murders per 100,000 residents.
Crime rates in the Big Apple have generally been in decline in recent years – the city’s homicide rate hit a historic low in 2017.
London made headlines for all the wrong reasons last February when – for a brief period – its murder rate overtook New York’s, according to police from both cities.
UK government figures showed crimes committed using a knife – the most common weapon in the British capital – rose a staggering 21% in the 12 months to September 2017.
Trump and Khan’s feud goes back several years but was renewed earlier this month when the US President branded the London mayor “a stone cold loser” moments before landing in the UK for a state visit.
“@SadiqKhan, who by all accounts has done a terrible job as Mayor of London, has been foolishly “nasty” to the visiting President of the United States, by far the most important ally of the United Kingdom. He is a stone cold loser who should focus on crime in London, not me….” Trump tweeted.